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Michelle Huneven

Wet Metal: An Excerpt From Blame

Patsy MacLemoore came to on a concrete shelf in a cell in the basement of the Altadena Sheriff’s department. Her hair had woken her up. It stank. She had said she would rather die than come back here. She’d said that both times she’d been here before. The little jail......
Haute sensationalism: Moore explains our violent tendencies. (Photo by Lulu Sylbert)

Susanna Moore: Women Behind Bars

As she established in her erotic thriller, In the Cut, Susanna Moore is not afraid of dark places. Her style is a kind of haute sensationalism; taut, perfectly pitched sentences coupled with an uncanny eye for the goriest detail, the most telling, most unbearable fact. The big girls of Moore’s......

A Fan's Notes

Recommending novels is a fool’s errand and giving them as gifts is greater folly yet. To this day, my sister assails me for suggesting Norman Rush’s Mating in 1996, and I’ve altogether stopped proposing any of Penelope Fitzgerald’s novels, Henry James’ The Spoils of Poynton or Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s......

A Full Life

Claire Messud’s three works of fiction (two novels and one book of two novellas) have attracted the praise of critics and the attention of countless awards committees. She has twice been nominated for a PEN Faulkner Award, once for a National Book Award, and was just this week long-listed for......

Lists

MICHELLE HUNEVEN (author of the novels Jamesland and Round Rock) I read somewhere that Haruki Murakami swims several hours a day to train for his writing — and, indeed, his remarkable last novel, Kafka on the Shore(Vintage), is like an exhilarating dive into the wild and woolly collective unconscious. At......

Fatherless Manhattan

The narrator of Yannick Murphy’s second novel, Here They Come, is a nameless, frightfully observant 13-year-old girl who lives with her hard-drinking mother, two sisters and suicidal brother in a tenement apartment in Manhattan in the 1970s. Their filmmaker father has left them to live with a woman referred to......

Sweet Home Altadena

In 2001, after a 35-year absence and with much trepidation, I moved back to the town where I was born and raised, Altadena, California. Specifically, I moved back to west Altadena, not the fancier, more bourgieside of town east of Lake Avenue. This matters to many who know the area:......

The Institution of Marriage

On a hot, smoggy day earlier this month, Jim and I drove to the County Clerk’s Office in East Los Angeles for a wedding license. We found a cluster of squat concrete structures, hard-used and studiously devoid of charm. In the small courtyard, women with baby strollers and small children......

An Eden of Their Own

What do you do in the middle of a heat wave? Go on a garden tour, of course. This past scorching Saturday, four of us set out to see My Own Slice of the State, which featured six idiosyncratic “outsider” gardens presented by the arts consortium NewTown — a cutting-edge,......
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Female Trouble

Photo by Kevin ScanlonLisa See, whose red hair and pale skin obscure her Chinese ancestry, arrives at the F. Suie One Company in Pasadena bearing dim sum — bao buns, shumai, stickers. A mysterious and rarely open Asian antiquities shop, F. Suie One has been in See’s family for a......